AD-This is a collaborative post with Gateshead Alive
The Late Shows is a regional Culture Crawl around some of Newcastle and Gateshead’s galleries, museums, libraries, and artists workshops. The event takes place annually on consecutive Friday and Saturday evenings in May from 7-11pm alongside the National Museums at Night event. This year the Late Shows were extended to include Twi-lates a series of events for 12-17 years olds from 4-7pm at certain venues.
Gone were the glo-sticks of previous years due to the single-use plastic awareness but as we headed across the bridge to the Cluny we were handed a snazzy neon yellow badge & a Late Shows guide detailing all of the events and their locations. Big shout out to the volunteers who give their time to make the Late Shows a success. Everyone we approached was super knowledgeable & friendly.
Here’s how we got on at the Late Shows 2019.
The Late Shows Friday Night: Newcastle
We used to come to Seven Stories regularly when the girls were small & had annual passes but it’s been a few years since they lapsed. It’s always good to visit at the Late Shows as it’s FREE (usually £7.70 for adults and £6.60 for kids 4-16) & there’s usually some cool events taking place.
We were keen to head up to the attic (with our pals North East Family Fun in tow) to watch a rock band called Aukestra who gave us a rousing rendition of tracks from the Greatest Showman, an 80’s Spandau Ballet & Bowie tribute before finishing off with the feel-good Timberlake number ‘Can’t stop the Feeling’.
The director of the band explained that the group consists of autistic & non-autistic people who just come together to make great music. And make great music they did!
As it had a been a while since we had visited Seven Stories we spent a bit of time looking at the exhibitions. First up was ELMER and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee which is celebrating 30 years since the book was published. As with most of Seven Stories exhibitions, there were opportunities for the kids to dress up & engage with the books. Elmer’s universal theme of not being afraid to be yourself & stand out from the crowd is just (if not more) relevant in these times.
The exhibition got us in the mood for the St Oswald’s Hospice Elmer sculpture trail which kicks off in the late Summer. I also used to love the book ‘Not now Bernard’ when I was a kid & didn’t realise it was by the same author! Plus I have also realised that I am now the mam in that book haha!
Next up was Ouseburn farm for their UV trail for kids. Unfortunately, in the time we’d been in Seven Stories the rain had come down heavy & washed the UV trail away….boo! Still Abigail enjoyed the UV face paint (free with a suggested donation to the farm) & we enjoyed looking around at the animals who were as chilled as ever!
Last up on our Ouseburn tour was the Biscuit Factory’s Glitter-arty event.
Imogen was desperate to find the free glitter face painting & while she was in the queue Abigail decided she needed a festival-style hairdo with some tinsel in her hair. We were stung for £10 for 5 stands of tinsel but it did look cool and nearly a week later is still going strong.
I grabbed a lush glass of wine at this point & almost felt quite cultured as we browsed the art on display. Alan loved the Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves) exhibition ‘A Mountain of Turkish Delight’ which was eclectic, very much like the man himself. The artwork Alan got his eye on was called ‘Car, Fire, Bear man’ which was on sale for £10K. Eeek! Nee chance Mr Hoops.
To finish off the night we headed down to the Silent Disco taking place in the Artisan restaurant space. If you haven’t been to a silent disco before it’s something to see. Two different channels play different tunes so people are dancing to different beats so all very amusing! There was to be no dancing from the girls as their energy levels suddenly ran low. At 11pm we had made it to the end of the Late Shows day one and declared the first night a big success.
The Late Shows Saturday Night: Gateshead
Dynamix Skate Park
Tonight we stepped out of the comfort zone & visited a new venue to us… and to the Late Shows programme, the Dynamix skate park.
We also acquired an additional kid for the night their friend Millie. Located just near the McDonald’s & Gateshead stadium, this place is like no other! It’s a gigantic warehouse with ramps for skateboarding, scooting & skating, along with some trampolines.
We managed to get the girls on a trampoline taster session which they loved! The staff member was very patient & showed them some great techniques building up to having a shot at a wall bounce.
As I sat watching them a DJ was playing reggae beats & an aerial circus show was setting up we were caught the start of. I can totally see how this place is so popular it’s like a kinda Byker Grove youth club with a little cafe & plenty of chill out spaces.
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
We headed towards the river to pop into the Baltic. We were keen to see the interactive exhibit ‘The City is where we are going next’ by Simon & Tom Bloor.
This space explored the urban landscape as a place to play & enjoy rather than find hostile. The girls had fun climbing over the wooden pallets, digging in the building site, & having pillow fights with the sandbags (which were thankfully a lot lighter than the usual ones!)
As we left the Baltic we watched the Rock Choir perform on the square. The choir was massive, there must have been over 100 people in this choir who were all singing their hearts out to ‘Don’t Stop Believin’.
There was so much going on at Gateshead library we didn’t know where to start. So I settled down with a glass of red & a chill listening to a brilliant singer/songwriter called Becca James for 20 minutes or so while we had a think.
We managed to catch up with fellow blogger and Events Coordinator Rachel (The Culture Vulture) in the café before we started to get into the activities.
The girls were desperate to join in a Bollywood taster session but as they’d just missed the start of a session we headed up to Caedmon Hall to have a mess on with cardboard boxes with the Thought Foundation’s Cardboard city. The girls soon got to work adding an Asda supermarket into the city with the new slogan of “Every Second Counts’ & it’s all important emergency exit.
Soon it was time to get their Bollywood on at the dance session by Gem Arts which they loved. The instructor was so lovely with them & was praising them for their dance skills. Imogen can often be a bit self-conscious when doing things like this but backed up with her sister & friend she really went for it.
Our next session was to be added to our favourite Book inspired photos. With green screen / blue screen technology the kids went wild.
Last up was a session in the library itself, painting rocks with paint pens. They spent ages on their works of art & were really proud of their finished effort.
I was really impressed with the layout of the Gateshead library & the friendliness of the building. It’s much nicer than Newcastle’s Central library which often feels a bit sterile.
Shipley Art Gallery
By the time we got to Shipley at nearly 10.30pm things were pretty much wrapped up with the bar being tidied away & the DJ’s packing up. We had wanted to see the 3D printers and the girl manning the machine explained that she had stopped printing but kindly went on to explain the process to the girls & show them some she had done earlier. It was cool to see that the 3D models are hollow which makes for much quicker printing time.
Summary of the Late Shows
We had a brilliant weekend exploring the Late Shows & would recommend the event to anyone with tweens or teens! The event, in theory, is good for young children, but as it’s a late night it would totally depend on your child & their need for sleep! Ours will happily stay up as late as us these days. Last year we headed around the Ouseburn venues as a date night & have to say given the choice I think we had more fun WITH the kids in tow.